By Danielle Kutchel
A fee increase at Casey RACE has infuriated a Casey resident, who says the facility is becoming more and more difficult to afford.
Stella Gonzalez said the latest increase had only compounded the difficulties she had faced since a previous increase hit hard.
“As a single parent I am absolutely devastated to hear about the increase,” she said.
“I have been a Casey RACE member for almost 10 years and have struggled to keep my membership for myself and my two children after the last fee increase, and now Casey RACE is making it almost impossible for parents like myself who can only work a limited amount of days due to have a special needs child at home.”
The family uses the centre on a weekly basis, with the children doing swimming lessons and Ms Gonzalez using the gym and taking some classes.
Ms Gonzalez said her fees have increased by $13.20 this year.
“I am now paying $101.60 per fortnight just so my children can be physically active once a week and so that I can work on my physical and mental health,” she said.
“I am not at the moment willing to change due to not having the same facilities anywhere close by, but I am definitely keeping my eyes open for other places providing the same services.
“This is an absolute disgrace and for a company who prides themselves on servicing the community, all they are doing is putting more families at risk of obesity and isolation.”
A spokeswoman for YMCA Victoria, which manages ONE Casey facilities including Casey RACE, said fees had increased on average 4.9 percent across the health and wellness services, as part of the annual fee increase process.
“The changes to fees were displayed on City of Casey’s website with an opportunity for community members to provide feedback,” she said.
“Communication to all users occurred more than 30 days before the increase commenced. This includes emails and mail sent to all YMCA members an in-centre signage informing them of the increase.”
Families that are struggling to pay their membership can access support, including short term support and free or subsidised access to the facilities, she added.